Vanessa Sarno (AFP)

Vanessa Sarno delivered the worthiest performance of the day even as Team Philippines came through with 1-2 finishes in billiards and tennis when the 31st Southeast Asian Games hit the final stretch Saturday, May 21, in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Sarno blew away the field with a record-breaking lift of 239 kilograms spread from 104kgs in snatch and 135kgs in clean and jerk in the women’s 71kg class.

It was a spectacular show of force by Sarno as the 18-year-old Asian champion showed she’s the heir apparent to Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz, who took the 55kg title last Friday.

From the way she walked to the stage to her cheery demeanor, it was obvious that Sarno was a cut above the rest and proved it by coming through with a flawless effort and she completed all her lift—from 91, 101 to 104kgs in snatch and 123, 130 and 135kgs in clean and jerk.

Thai Siriyakorn Khaipandung managed just 223kgs, while Indonesian Anggi Restu had 212kgs to settle for the silver and bronze, respectively.

In tennis, Treat Huey and Ruben Gonzales dethroned teammates Francis Casey Alcantara and Jeson Patrombon, 6-4, 6-1, to capture the men’s doubles gold.

Huey and Gonzales dictated the pace throughout the match, pulling away from a 3-1 lead in the first set and a 4-2 advantage in the second frame en route to the gold medal.

It was a revenge of sorts for Huey and Gonzales, who settled for the silver medal in the 2019 edition at the expense of Alcantara and Patrombon.

Playing as top seeds in the biennial meet, Huey and Gonzales earned a bye before crushing Malaysians Koay Hao Shen and S Naguib, 6-2, 6-2, and Vietnam’s Pham Minh Tuan and Trinh Linh Giang, 6-4, 6-2.

The PH tennis team capped off its campaign with one gold, one silver and four bronze medals to slightly improve its one-gold, one-silver, two-bronze haul in the 2019 edition.

Rubilen Amit, meanwhile, bested good friend Chezka Centeno, 7-5, in the women’s 10-ball to become a double gold medalist.

Amit, who ruled the 9-ball singles earlier in the week, regained her composure after squandering a pair of three-rack leads to oust Centeno, winner of the 2019 edition, in an all-Filipino title clash at the Ha Dong Gymnasium.

The 40-year-old cue artist also bagged her 10th career gold in the regional meet at the expense of Centeno, who settled for silver.

Carlo Biado, meanwhile, got back at Johann Chu to pull off a 9-3 win and capture the men’s 10-ball crown.

Biado took control upon the opening break, taking the first two racks before extending the gap to 4-1 after Chua missed the final ball on the fifth frame.

It was the start Biado needed to avenge his 9-6 defeat to Chua in the men’s 9-ball final last Wednesday.

In chess, Woman Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna and Shania Mae Mendoza added a silver medal while Daniel Quizon and Jan Emmanuel Garcia took home the bronze in the team blitz.

Frayna and Mendoza drew their last game with Puteri Rifqah Azhar and Puteri Munajjah Azhar in the fifth and final round to finish second behind eventual gold medalist Indonesia.

Quizon and Garcia likewise halved the point with Indonesians Susanto Megaranto and Muhammad Lutfi Ali to claim the bronze.

Vietnam took the mint while Indonesia the silver.

Elreen Ando claimed another silver medal, albeit in heartbreaking fashion, in the women’s 64kg weightlifting competitions after failing to lift her final two attempts in the clean and jerk.

After completing a lift of 120kgs at the start of the clean and jerk, Ando went for 125 on her second attempt in hopes of staying behind Pham.

But Ando couldn’t complete the attempt, putting her in a precarious situation.

She went for 125 anew on the final try but once again fell short, leaving the 23-year-old Ando in tears as a potential gold slipped away.

The Philippines currently has one gold, one silver and one bronze in weightlifting with one event remaining.

Asian champion Vanessa Sarno is scheduled to see action in the women’s 71kg event.

Meanwhile, the men’s and women’s basketball team moved on the cusp of retaining their gold medals after beating their respective rivals.

The women’s crew mauled Singapore, 88-61, to remain unbeaten in four games, while the men’s side thrashed Malaysia, 87-44, for its fifth win in as many games.

Despite the recent golden feats, the Philippines remains at fifth place with 47 gold, 64 silver and 86 bronze medals as of 6 p.m.

Vietnam is strong on top with 173 golds, 101 silvers and 100 bronzes, followed by Thailand with 71-84-116 (gold-silver-bronze), Indonesia (57-75-65), and Singapore (47-44-65).

Source: Manila Bulletin (